tv Politics Nation MSNBC March 25, 2013 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
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let me finish tonight with this. there's a scene in "gone with the wind" when young southern boys are throwing their hats in the air and cheering. what's got them so thrilled is that war has broken out with the north. the book end of that scene comes at the end of the scene when the body is strewn as far as the eye
can see it, those same young men after four years of bloody civil war. it would take the lives of 600,000 americans, soldiers who spoke the same language, shared the same religion faith and history. at the end of the war, what could we have done to stop it? one thing is a vital free press. men and women set on telling the truth. the faults in the intelligence, the alternative paths that the leaders have failed to explore and an estimate of the horrors to come. tonight we discussed the build-up to the war and the bad decision to bury so much of it. and that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. "politicsnation" with al sharpton starts right now. thanks, chris, and thanks to you for tuning in. tonight's lead, finishing the job. president obama is back on u.s.
soil fresh from his well-received trip to the middle east and today he jumped right back into the fight for second-term agenda, demanding that congress take action on immigration. >> we've taken real action from congress, bipartisan groups in the house and senate, working to tackle this challenge. i applaud them for that. we are making progress but we've got to finish the job because this issue is not new. emp pretty much knows what is broken. everybody knows how to fix it. we've all proposed solutions and we've got a lot of white papers and studies. we just at this point have got to work up the political courage to do what is required to be done. >> political courage. the president was talking about immigration and we're going to get into that a little later in the show. but he also could have been talking about another big issue where we're seeing momentum. gun control. today we learned the president
will hold a series of campaign-style rallies, calling for tougher gun laws and new york mayor michael bloomberg has announced a $12 million ad campaign challenging senators in 13 states to support new gun control laws. >> 90% of the public wants something and their representatives vote against that. commonsense says they are going to have a price to pay for that. >> americans want gun reform but the right wing doesn't get it. they are still using their own play book. believe it or not, the nra is placing automated phone calls to people in newtown, connecticut, the town that is wa shatts shat in sandy hook, elementary, leik this one recorded.
>> despite an outcry of public opposition, antigun legislators are aggressively pursing numerous proposals that are designed to disarm and punish law-e law-abiding sportsmen. >> far too many public leaders fall in line with the nra and echo the gun lobby's talking points. >> do you want to get something done? then don't scare people. let's not make it so impractical. >> you're scaring people that black helicopters and if we register guns are going to confiscate american's guns. >> to all due respect, it's not paranoia. >> you catch that? karl rove said it's not paranoid
to think that black helicopters are going to swoop in and steal everybody's guns. this kind of rhetoric is out of touch and it's behind the times. joining me now is maria teresa kumar. >> we are indeed. the american public is a bit ahead of congress and i think you're going to see, because of the public pressure, more and more congress members falling in line to do the right thing. i was getting a headache listening to some of these people talk about paranoia. look, congress, i think, for the first time during my lifetime, seems to be moving toward putting some commonsense things together with regard to some
kind of gun legislation. not to take anybody's gun. nobody is trying to take anybody's guns. i have family members that need to own guns because of where they live and things that are happening in and around their own homes, but they are not jumping up and hiding and listening at night for the black hawk helicopters. we've had ridiculous things happen in schools and legislators are now listening. >> when you look at the facts, maria, wayne lapierre is not looking at the same world. he is of the nra. he accuses mayor bloomberg of trying to buy america when it comes to gun reform. first, listen to this. >> authe can't spend enough of $27 billion to try to impose his will on the american public. he can't buy america. he's so reckless in terms of his
comments on this whole gun issue. >> but the nra itself spent a ton of money trying to influence politics on gun legislation. in 2012 alone, it shelled out $32 million in political spending, maria. >> well, i mean, you hit the nail on the head. i was listening to that sound bite. i'm like, wait a second, is he against gun control? it's one of the largest lobbyists and they write hefty money to both democratic and republican congressional members. i think what the nra believe in commonsense gun reform. they believe in background checks. what's happening is that there's not an alignment of what the membership wants and what the nra is actually doing.
>> the ad, since we brought that up, the ad campaign will hit 13 states from arizona to pennsylvania and he'll encourage people to put pressure on their senato senators to vote for gun reform. here's one of those ads. >> for me, guns are for hunting and protecting my family. i believe in the second amendment and i'll fight to protect it. but with rights come responsibilities. that's why i support comprehensive background checks, so criminals and the dangerously mentally ill can't buy guns. that protects my rights and my family. >> now, that's basically along the lines of what you were saying, congressman. it's not about the second amendment. it's about those things that are in excess and about clearly about the background checks of those that are going to purchase guns. >> yes. and i applaud the mayor for what he's doing. look, mayor bloomberg is not
some left wing wacko liberal but he is a man who understands that we need to move from where we are to a place where we will be looked back on by historians as having looked at a problem squarely in the face and then did something about it. i think our stories are going to look back at our generation and question what was wrong with them. they don't want to find out if a person is mentally ill before they give them a chance to buy a gun? that's crazy. >> yeah, it is crazy. and if we can't do it now, i don't know when we'd he do it, maria, and i don't agree with mayor bloomberg on a tlot of issues but five red state democrats, kay hagan of north carolina, mary landrieu and
senator pryor of arkansas and donnelly and heitkamp. >> mayor bloomberg, what he understands is that he is targeting the democrats that are also on the fence and by going directly to their districts, it's teaching the american people about the nuts and bolts. it's not enough to go to the polls. you have to pick up the phone and make sure that congress knows that you are paying attention and your vote for them next time is going to reside on whether they are with you or not with you for gun legislation. again, bloomberg is doing exactly what the president is doing. he's taking it ut out of washington. again, the american people believe that we need gun legislation and our members of congress and senators are not aligned and they should be. because like representative was
saying, it's going to hurt not just ourselves but our loved ones and generations to come. >> congressman, i was on "morning joe" today on this station with dan senor who is a romney campaign adviser and we were talking about the change in politics of gun control for these red state democrats. you're a democratic leader in the congress. look at this and give me your response. >> they are under a the lot of pressure to buck their own party in pursuit of keeping the democratic majority. >> i would want senator reid to be very careful because we learned from last year's elections that a decade ago, two decades ago is no longer what some of those states in terms of the electorate has become. and i think you could galvanize your vote if you took some
stands in some of those states. >> congressman? >> look, the way the mayor's doing this is the way he ought to do it. i'm a democrat. i want democrats to be in a majority. but there comes a time when politics must not supersede that which is right. the majority of us in this country believes the direction we're going in terms of universal background checks is the right thing to do. if some democrats fall or stand in the way, so be it. i want to be in the majority. it's not fun in the minority. but i also would like to have a society where we're not scheduling almost some kind of tragedy every other month. >> no problem with that at all with me. i agree with you, because the majority is a wonderful thing to have but if we cannot stand up when babies are shot in newtown
and children are shot in the streets of chicago, over 500 last year, then what are we in the majority for if we're not standing up for the american people? congressman emanuel cleaver and maria teresa kumar, thank you. >> thank you. ahead, the president pushes for his agenda. plus, has president obama really been disrespecting former president bush? give me a break. i'm going to get to the bottom of this one. also, a new headache for michele bachmann, an ethics probe may be in her future. you're watching "politicsnation" on msnbc. it's monday.
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our journey is not complete until we find a way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see american as land of opportunity, until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law. we are made for this opportunity and we will seize it as long as we seize it together. >> president obama is back in the country today returning his focus to the progressive agenda he outlined in his second inaugural address, on gun control, immigration, marriage equality, the president and the country and seven years ago, 63% of the country supported a pathway to citizenship. this year, that number has jumped nine points. a critical shift in public opinion and is not just immigration. today people are already lining
up outside of the supreme court to show their support for marriage equality. this week, the court will hear arguments challenging the defense of marriage act and a ban on same-sex marriage. the court has evolved on this issue dramatically. 17 years ago, only 27% of americans were in favor of same-sex marriage. today, well over half the court supports marriage equality. sometimes change is slow. sometimes it's hard to see. sometimes it gets lost in the daily battles out of washington. but this is real. this is what progress looks like. the president and the country are winning the progressive argument and are moving the country forward. joining me now is congresswoman donna edwards, democrat from maryland, and patricia murphy from citizen jane politics. thanks for your time.
>> thank you. >> congresswoman, are some of the right finally acknowledging big shifts on social issues? >> well, i think that what the president has done is he's actually demonstrated what leadership is, and that is moving a country that was kind of middle of the road on some of these issues and recognizing the direction that we needed to go and i think that the right has completely underestimated the fact that the american public is moving in one direction and conservatives send to be going in the opposite direction. >> now, when you listen, patricia, to the president on immigration and he talked today at a naturalization ceremony -- watch this. >> unless you are one of the first americans, unless you are a native american, you came from someplace else. that's why we've always defined ourselves as a nation of immigrants and we've always been better off for it. immigration makes us stronger.
it keeps us vibrant, hungry, prosperous. if we want to keep attracting the best and the brightest that the world has to offer, then we need to do a better job of welcoming them. >> now, a majority of the americans agree with them but can we make this reform happen now? >> yeah. i think this is the year that we're going to see this reform happen and i don't really think it's because republicans have had an evolution in their own thinking. i don't think a lot of republicans woke up and said, i really feel very differently about immigration in this country. i think they woke up after the election and said, wow, we just lost by a lot. i think they got out their calculators and said the hispanic community, the fastest growing community in the united states, they cannot continue to lose that demographic by more than 50 points, that is how much barack obama won that demographic by, they cannot win
like that anymore and expect to win. i think they are moving forward on this you about i think the republican party as a whole has had really a death bed conversion and said, we can pay attention to other social issues but this is an issue that they are going to let go forward because they want to win elections and democrats, to their credit, are taking that opening and running with it. >> now, congresswoman, the pro obama group, organizing for action, is joining the push for immigration reform. their goal is to, quote, count to any opposition by conservatives to the current legislative effort with support from around the country. now, this is the obama ground game working for the president's second term agenda. can they succeed against the conservative opposition, in your opinion? >> well, i think absolutely they can and i think it's actually a welcome addition to the efforts that the president puts out with the bully pulpit but adding this
grassroots component across every group across the united states to really bolster the president's agenda is what is going to take it over the top. and i think what the president has learned and all of us know is that you really can't move these issues unless you move the grassroots and i think the combination of the president's leadership and the grassroots momentum provided by obama for america is really going to make the difference on guns. it's going to make the difference on immigration. it's going to make the difference on the president turning the tide on our commitment to jobs and the economy. >> patricia, let me ask you about the same-sex marriage question. gary bauer, a conservative, if there ever was one, was asked on sunday if the country's support of same-sex marriage would hurt the gop. watch this and his response. >> do you worry that this only puts the republicans out of
touch with the mainstream voters? >> no, i'm not worried because the polls are skewed, chris. >> the polls are skewed? that's the answer every time the polls go against them, that they are skewed? >> well, listen, that was what we heard going into election, any poll that showed democrats winning the national election, those polls were skewed, the polls ever were skewed. it's not a question of polling. it's a question of progress and it's a question of how younger americans feel about this issue versus older americans and we're starting to hear republicans, other than gary bauer, use different language around this issue. they are no longer saying, can't we agree that good people can agree on this issue? it's a much softer rhetoric. younger republicans and conservatives more than doubled their number on this issue. it's a significant change and it's really generational. this change will happen. it may not happen overnight.
it may not happen immediately after the supreme court makes its decision, which ever it is. but this will change and republicans will follow the country once they get there. >> congresswoman, one of those republicans that has changed is senator rob portman. his son wrote in an op-ed today how he came out to his parents in a letter he said, "that was the beginning of the end of feeling ashamed about who i was." these stories humanized and ultimately now his father, a u.s. senator, coming out in support. >> it's not just one family versus another. it's an important story for the republican party but the fact is that all across this court, if you're under age 65, you've
already had a change on this issue. so really it is just a matter of time and republicans can decide that they want to be someplace else. i think on this issue and a number of other issues, the public is well beyond where the republican party is. so they can remain isolated, fractured, conservative group if they want to but it's simply not where the american people are and gay marriage, marriage equality, it's across the board on so many social issues and really it's having a tremendous electorate and people like my son's age, this isn't even a question for them. and so this is where the american public is and republicans can either decide if they want to catch up or not. >> donna edwards, thank you for your time. >> thank you. still ahead, a report from the gop fantasy island tea party
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ask your doctor about cialis for daily use and a 30-tablet free trial. it's been a busy couple of months for freshman senator ted cruz. he's voted no on everything from hurricane relief to raising the debt ceiling. he's drawn comparisons to joe mccarthy. john mccain even called him a wacko bird. but cruz says things are just going great. he told the dallas morning news, "if you look at the vote on sequester, the filibuster on drone strikes and the vote on defunding obama car, republicans have stood together for principle. and in doing so, i believe we are winning the argument."
with that kind of fuzzy logic, it's no wonder the americans are running away from the party. 27% of americans can identify as republicans. that's the lowest since the beginning of 2010. and only 33% have a favorable view of the gop. but senator cruz thinks republicans are winning the argument? yikes. maybe the effort to reboot the party is just a lost cause. joining me now, ryan grim and jamal simmons. ryan, do tea party republicans really think they are winning the argument here or are they just avoiding reality as long as possible? >> well, a lot of tea party republicans don't think that the other side has an even remotely legitimate argument to bring to the table. so they think they are practically winning it by default. you know, a lot of them almost
wonder what it is that these democrats are even doing, saying that in the house of representatives, for instance, when the nation has elected republicans to run the house for the last two years yet here are these democrats who are still here and still trying to have input on some of these bills. you know, as far as they are concerned, obama care is the least popular thing ever been foiste the foisted on the american people. when they see votes like this, yeah, it reinforces that world view that they are already holding. >> jamal, democratic strategist paul begala writes today in "the daily beast" that since the rnc released its autopsy or assessment of the last election, we've seen jurassic republicans. quote, the far right howled when the autopsy was released. did you really think that people
resisted to change pushed them into extinction? >> you know, they will, rev. you don't have this problem anymore but sometimes i notice, oh, sometimes wrong. my shirts are getting a little tight. it's not my shirt collar. and a decision that you're going to do things differently and what the republicans have to decide, do they want to be a congressional party that's going to get in bed with the 1.4 million americans, more americans who voted for democrats in the congressional election and if you had had a national electorate divided up somewhat reason pleably, you wo have had a democratic-divided house. do you want to stay in the same, narrow, shrinking older white demographic that you've been stuck in or go out there and
talk to the rest of america, all of the people that we want to get into the american benefit structure and share all the problems that america has with more people and not have everything on the back of working class people? >> now, speaking of that autopsy, ryan, the man behind it, rnc chair reince priebus, he says that mike huckabee should be the model on social issues. "i always tell people, listen to governor mike huckabee. i don't know anyone that talks about them any better," talking about social issues. well, huckabee's the model? let's listen to some of the things this model republican has said. >> if we change the definition to accommodate a man and a man or a woman and a woman, why can't we accommodate a man and two women or a woman and two men? >> we have systematically
removed god from our schools. should we be surprised that school has become a place of carnage. >> emerged from the flame and strong as steel, the courage to lead, that's todd akin. >> so the man who said todd legitimate rape akin had the courage to lead, he's now the gop's leader on social issues, ryan? >> well, yeah. i mean, there's two problems with this. i mean, okay, sure, huckabee is an extremely kind of -- he's a backslapping, friendly, very smooth spoken kind of guy. his views are extremely hard line and they are going to drive the republican party that much further out of the mainstream if they follow him. but maybe that's not exactly what priebus means. maybe just being nice, smooth talking, articulate guy. but you can't just tell budding politicians to do that.
you either have those skills or you don't. so what people are going to take from it is that the views that huckabee holds, those are okay ones for a mainstream republican to hold and keep pushing for it and not going to do it as eloquently as huckabee does and it's just going to keep driving them further and further into irrelevance. >> well, given an example of that, jamal, republicans in north dakota just passed a personhood amendment. you know, that would ban all abortions. >> right. >> republican state lawmakers are speaking out against it and said, quote, like many of my republican colleagues, i personally have pro life but i vote pro choice because decisions about pregnancy are complex and personal. my home state is poised to win the state by state race to the bottom on women's health. the republicans have paved the way for this distinction is such a disappointment.
every republican lawmaker says they are going too far on anti-legislation, shouldn't that be a signal to back off, jamal? >> absolutely it should be a signal. this gets back to ithe policies. the democrats faced a similar choice, all of the strength of the congressional party together or compete with senate races and for governor races and the presidency. and they actually had to come up with different policy positions that appealed to the mainstream of american life so that we could get the things that liberals and progressives actually nt actually wanted to see happen. the republicans have to figure out what they want to do. >> ryan grim and jamal simmons, thank you both for your time tonight. >> thank you. still ahead, jeb bush's jaw-dropping comment about president obama and his brother. apparently some republicans are still trying to rewrite history.
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to ask her questions about that speech. and now questions about possible campaign violations, dating back to the gop presidential primary. the daily beast reports that the investigators are interviewing former staffers about alleged misuse of campaign funds. the probe is focused on accusations of improper money transfers. bachmann's lawyer released a statement saying, quote, there are no allegations that the congresswoman has engaged in any wrongdoing. we're confident that at the end of their review the ethics board will conclude that bachmann did not do anything inappropriate. now congresswoman bachmann deserves the benefit of the doubt. but i guess that a video of her running is not the last thing she's concerned about.
thinking about former president bush but his brother jeb just said something that i couldn't believe. watch this. >> he is like the most focused, disciplined guy, to imagine being a former president and not having an opinion on anything over the last four years? really? to have that discipline, to be respectful of the president that hasn't been as respectful of him as he should have been? man, i could have never done that. >> really? president obama hasn't been respectful of former president bush. jeb is sticking up for his brother because that's what brothers do. but i've never seen any evidence of what he's talking about. i mean, we should always respect the office of the presidency. but tell the truth when it comes to any president's record. should we respect the dismal
economic record that sank us into recession and exploded our national debt? this isn't just a bush family affair. it's a national tragedy. and republicans still can't deal with the real bush legacy. joining me now, victoria de francesco soto. >> thanks, rev. >> victoria? >> first off, jeb's comments, there is nothing extraordinary about george w. bush commenting on president obama. there's this informal rule that once you leave office, you really don't comment on the president in the previous office. and his comments, looking at the restraint of george w. bush, you couple those with this new focus of george w. bush being this
very humble and easygoing guy who enjoys painting. i see a different emphasis behind that. i see a softer, fuzzier george w. bush. he wants to get away from that bush legacy you're talking about, reverend. he wants to put as much distance as he can between the wars, the economic recession, worst we've seen since the depression, and his potential run for office in 2016. >> but dr. peterson, the facts are what the facts are, trying to change to a fuzzier image is all right, fine, but look at the bush record $4.9 trillion, with a t. the private sector lost 646,000 jobs and the median incomes of the people in this country dropped 4.2% i don't care how
you covered it, this is the bush record. >> they want to say he's warm and fuzzy but this is bush without karl rove and without vice president dick cheney. there are ebb manies of his administration that made that administration much more hawkish and we're willing to trade on the lives of the americans and social safety net to prosecute certain wars and run up the national debt in order to do so. i think the legacy speaks for itself. what jeb bush has to do here is a tricky thing because he can't disrespect his brother on the one hand because he has to somehow provide cover for that legacy. on the other hand, he really is trying to make a go for and distinguish himself. >> and he's got to try, as you're saying, victoria, to change the image of the bush
name. but then you have the war in iraq. so far it caused $1.7 trillion, nearly 4500 americans killed in the war and more than 32,000 americans wounded, many iraqis killed, billions of dollars wasted and sl there anything we should respect about that? >> and there isn't and it will just keep on continuing, the travesty of it all isn't just the wars in and of itself and the money we've spent but how we're failing our veterans. our veterans administration is ill-equipped and understaffed. we have 1.6 million veterans and that's not counting vietnam and korea and other wars. and ptsd, 25% and suffering the
economic travesty of being 2% more likely to be unemployed. you put that all together, even though we're putting the wars to an end, we're going to have this legacy veterans. >> you know, how can the republicans change and convince the american public they've changed if they can't even come to terms with and admit the legacy of george bush? >> well, rev, 18 suicides per day for veterans that are here but to be honest with you and obviously the bush family name has deep pockets itself but also access to deep pockets and the respect from having two presidencies but the bush brand,
even for this republican party, is not in snyc ync and this tea party-controlled party is at this moment. they have a much greater affinity for people like cruz, for people like ryan, even though that may sound outlandish to those who are more politically sensible, they have aligned itself with those kinds of focus. i don't even see where jeb bush fits into the future for this republican party. >> talking about jeb bush, let's go back to jeb bush a minute, victoria. he talked about how his brother was more focused on art. now here is jeb's talking about this. >> he's actually become a pretty good painter. i have to admit, this was a surprise to me when i found this out a year ago and he's doing it with a vengeance. >> it struck me when i heard him say this about former
presidents. former president clinton founded the clinton global initiative. jimmy carter got involved in habitat for humanity. all the former presidents, including his father, got involved in raising money for haiti. he's going into painting? little difference in your post-presidential interests in life, wouldn't you say, victoria? nothing wrong with painting but most former presidents seem to have some broader, more global, more humanitarian interests. >> you're absolutely right, reverend. but what i'm detecting here is laying low. let's not forget when president george w. bush left office, he left office with a 36% approval rating. a couple months before that he was at 25% approval rating. so he's just laying low, either for his own good that he wanted to get out of the public eye or his brother might even be asking him to keep out of the public eye. this new emphasis on painting, good for him, paint on.
but let's go beyond that, as you said, let's try to remedy what you did in the decade before. >> but behind every dark cloud there is a silver lining because his art teacher says he started painting -- started off painting dogs and he's painting 50 dogs and he pulls out the canvas and he starts painting this dog and he says, oh, my god, i don't paint dogs. 43. he has such a passion for painting, it's amazing. he's going to go down in the history books as a great artist. well, maybe he'll go down as a great something. victoria soto and james peterson, thank you for your time tonight. today, a major tribute for hero who saved lives that led people to freedom. stay with us. if rz ♪
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